[Continues the comments exchange in the previous post on this blog...]
But why wait so long? Why wait 50 years to get where we are? If the West has incompetently fucked up every other place they have justifiably intervened in, why the extreme care and caution with Syria?
They threw the towel with Egypt, but they held their ground with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia (because of oil)... But Syria? A vulgar little tyranny whose army is largely untested (unlike the Iraqi army after a long war with Iran), whose population is less likely to break apart along sectarian lines than Iraq did, and whose people are just as eager to get rid of their dictator, etc...
Syria used to be backed by the Soviets. So we were careful. But no more.
Syria might have some missiles, but is nowhere near the threat that a hostile Egypt could pose to Israel.
Syria is the only obstacle to peace in Palestine-Israel. Iran is too geographically removed from the Palestinian-Israeli arena to pose an immediate threat, unless, as is currently the case, it is given the bridge, the link the Syria provides, to proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah.
Syria is a major violator of human rights. It sits right next door to a future European Union that includes Turkey.
All these factors ought to make dealing with Syria a priority. But the dereliction of the West in addressing the Syrian cancer all those decades, allowed the metastasis of Hezbollah and Hamas, and provided an apparently successful anti-western model to all the Al-Qaedas and its offshoots around the world...
Up to the early to mid-1980s, Syria did use the PLO, then the Lebanese Muslim militias, as proxies, but was otherwise directly involved. Since the mid-1980s, it delegated all its sinister operations to the nascent Hezbollah, Amal, Hamas, anti-peace Palestinians etc... Thus claiming deniability...
But before Syria succeeded in doing this, it had evicted the West from Lebanon, weakened the pro-Western Christians there, and ushered a Muslim-dominated Lebanon. All with Western endorsement and direct support to the Syrian regime.
WHY? What is West afraid of in confronting Syria? What is the West afraid of in breaking the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah chain by eliminating the Syrian link in the middle?
What is there to fear in a fucked up third-world little tyranny called Syria? No nuclear weapons... no major army.... no contiguous borders with a country that is likely to help Syria in case of a confrontation (Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon... ).
Why did the US all those decades give Syria what it wanted in Lebanon? From George Bush Senior and his Jim Baker, Ed Djeredjian, Richard Murphy, all Assad ass-kissers and ass-lickers... killing any uprising by the Lebanese against Syria during 3o years of occupation.
Why was nothing ever done?
What are they still waiting for?
If Israel's security is the ultimate objective of the US, then the Syrian regime holds a card that Israel and the West want, and which only the Assad regime is able to give. And that is why the US and the West in general have been so willing to allow the Assads to get away with murder, brutality, dictatorship, sponsoring terrorist organizations, derailing time and again the peace process, etc....
My guess is that the reward from a collaboration with Syria must be bigger than the risks entailed with allowing Syria to get away with murder. What is this reward?
Israel wants nothing more than take over the entire West Bank and eliminate once and for all any Palestinian existence in Judea and Samaria. This is the long term objective of Israel, and this cannot be denied. The trajectory of Israel's policies since the 1960s has been a straight line: Gobble up land, make Palestinian life miserable, delay ad infinitum any settlement with the PLO, build settlements, increase the Jewish population, etc.....
Why should this trajectory suddenly make a turn towards conciliation, surrender of land, etc...? It is not going to happen. Israel's surrender of Gaza is a tactical move aiming at exactly what is happening now: Show that the Palestinians are unreliable, cannot be trusted, etc... and therefore keep delaying and creating pretexts and facts on the ground that will one day make any negotiation really useless and moot. Another 20 years and the Jewish population of the West Bank will be equal to the Palestinian population. What sovereignty will the Palestinians then claim? What grounds will they have for a separate state?
The Syrian regime must be a part of this long term plan. It must have promised at some point to deliver the Palestinians and the Lebanese, in exchange for Golan and Lebanon... So you are right.